Breaking cultural shackles Part 2
Freedom Speaks Column
In last week's article, we noted that some cultural values and attitudes are negative and thus undesirable and we need to diminish them in our midst if we are to create the kind of Dominica we want. We noted that we can create the kind of Dominica we want - but it will take deliberate strategies to tackle the shackles that hold us back including the cultural shackles.
In this article we continue to discuss the cultural shackles and what can be done to escape from them. We started discussing the systematic poverty culture, which is the first of the five negative cultures that was listed. We said that people with this culture largely accept poverty as their lot in life and they become so locked into that mindset that they do not see themselves or their children getting out of poverty. They have come to accept little and this helps to create a cycle of poverty.
The people with this culture don't have a vision for lifting themselves up. If we are to reverse this culture in our land, we need to understand the factors that contribute to its perpetuation. Rooting out this culture requires the people to have a vision – one that is ambitious but realistic. But it also requires that the nation has a vision. The degree to which the people can pursue their vision depends on the degree to which the national government provides the right enabling environment including the tool to be placed at the disposal of people to lift themselves up. But it is also possible that sufficiently driven individuals, households or non-government actors can lead progress in spite of the actions of the government.
The scripture declares in Proverbs 29 verse 18 that where there is no vision, the people perish. What are the keys to getting our people to be visionary and to effectively pursue that vision? One of the keys, is visionary leadership. Leaders at all levels and institutions must inspire people. They must contribute to getting the people to the state where they believe that they can achieve their dream with hard and smart work.
But national leadership is particularly important and such leaders must have the character and capacity to lead the nation in establishing the right enabling environment for development. As they do that, they must inspire people to dream big and use the tools placed at their disposal. When national leaders cannot do that, they frustrate the efforts of those who make credible efforts to pull themselves up.
Clearly the Skerrit-led political regime in Dominica has neither the character nor the capability to lead the country out of poverty. If they did, there would have been better development results after their 17-years in government. Dominica would have been better able to face the ravages of Hurricane Maria.
We must also understand that national leaders need credibility to lead the nation. They cannot lead the nation effectively or unite the nation towards pursuing a common vision, if they steal general elections. Those who steal elections, will also steal resources from the people and when this is particularly blatant and significant, it also suggests that such leaders would not be focussed on creating the kind of environment required for people to thrive independent of the government. They would likely be more focused on how to build their personal wealth and they would rather pursue a strategy that keep people dependent on the government as a means to retain influence and political power in their quest to safeguard their ill-gotten gains.
So, what are the kinds of tools that a visionary government needs to put in place to facilitate our people pulling themselves out of the poverty, lack and a general low standard of living? We will expound more on that in the next article. But certainly, efforts must start with harnessing the best of our people to lead efforts to plan adequately and implement these plans successfully. Dominica has capable people at home and abroad. Recognizing the failure of the current government, civil society must arise to fill the gap where possible to help our people pull themselves up. That will certainly be a major direction that the DFP will take while we are not in government.
Another key toward encouraging our people to be visionary, is education. Education must expand the boundaries of possibilities in the minds of our people! If people do not think that greatness is possible, then they will not pursue greatness and they will settle for little! To this end, we must train Dominica's young people to think creatively, and to be innovative and entrepreneurial. This is a major key! But, recognizing the failings of our education system in Dominica and the current government, civil society stakeholders must seek to contribute where possible. The Dominica Freedom Party will certainly veer in that direction while we are not in government. We will expand on this discussion in the next article.
Kent Vital Political Leader Dominica Freedom Party.